Starving cattle stumble across the cow-burnt range. Above the cattle the vultures swarm like flies, attracted by the sight and smell of dying meat. (Always more vultures when you cross the border; where life is abundant and inexpensive crowded and cheap, as in Mexico, or Egypt, or India, you find a thriving business among the scavengers of death.) Giant mule-ear jackrabbits leap from the cactus and hurl themselves like kamikaze heroes into the grille or under the wheels of your car. Racing over a Mexican highway, especially at night, the thump and crunch of impacted bodies becomes as familiar as mariachi music on the radio. Those fur-covered roads…
Mariachi—the sound of fever. Every song is based on the same phrase: mi corazon. My heart. Your heart. Lunacy under the Mexican moon. That crazy music of sunlight, and murder, dust and blood and drunkenness, love, anguish, hatred, honor, passion, fear, stupidity, but fueled on by an inexhaustible hunger for life. For more life. Never say damasiado. Never say bustante. There is never enough. There cannot be too much. Not down here where the Spanish melded with the Indians, where every cop has a bandit brother, where the mountains meet the wrinkled blue sea. Where the basic insanity of Mexico, like a river dying on a delta, spends itself on the immensity and emptiness and mystic nothingness of the desert.
Sonora. Northwest Mexico. Land of the open-air beer joint and the shade-tree mechanic. More old cars upside down than right side up. On the outskirts of the town of Sonoita I once saw a solitary pig leaning out of the broken window of an abandoned 1947 Plymouth sedan. The pig watched me, with casual interest, as I drove by in my 1962 Dodge carry-all. Someday that pig, if it survives, will probably be living in this truck.
We drive through villages baking under a sun without mercy. No trees anywhere. The campesinos can’t afford trees. The cut them down long ago. Streets without a single tree, yards and courtyards and fields without a blade of grass. Around every house, every building lies a glittering field of broken glass, painful to the eyes. Though barefoot kids, snot-nosed muscositos, dash across it without a moment’s hesitation. Can an entire nation, even a poor one, take on the appearance of a garbage dump? Yes, easy, every yard, street, and roadside is littered with broken glass, rusted tin cans, shards of plastic, and shreds of rope, rubber, paper. Laundry hangs out everywhere, providing the only shade. Why are poor folks always doing laundry? Pride, I guess, and lots of children. On the west wall of the little iglesia in the hamlet of Colabi, as on the four walls of the cathedral in Hermosillo, you may see these words stenciled on the plaster in whitewash and official lettering.
SE PROHIBE HACER AGUA AQUÍ!
It is forbidden to make water here. Nevertheless, the smell of urine is acute. Pungent. Poignant. The whine of flies, those flies that swarm like microcosmic buzzards above each little pile of Mexican dung down in the alleyways, pervades the air with a vibration constant as the murmur of bees.
This is a country of quick, easy friendships, sworn in cerveza and tequila, sealed with dazzling smiles in faces of color of good saddle leather. Muchachos! Compadres! Companero de mi vida! A friendship, a love, too deep for thought, transformed in an instant, by one careless word, into flashing hatred sharp and violent at the thrust –chingazo—of a knife blade. Romantic Mexico… carefree colorful Sonora…. It looks like his real and final home to the average suicidal gringo..., drinking his way from cantina to cantina along dusty roads toward a colorful carefree death in a ditch behind a sheet-iron whorehouse ten miles south of Tubatama.
The mountain peaks do not rise above ten thousand feet, there are no dramatic peaks, and forests and bench lands are being exploited to the limit and beyond by the beef, mining, and timber industries, and by the urgent need of a human population growing at the rate of 3.5% per year—a rate greater than that of any Asian or African nation, including India and Egypt. Mexico City will soon be the largest city in the world. By the year 2000 the nation’s population will have doubled. Nobody seems concerned. “Welcome to the banquet of life, my children,” Eat hearty if you can fight your way to the table.”
When I find myself in Sonora, waking up off a dirt road deep in the cactus outback—how did I get here?—I veer toward the sea, avoid the cities entirely, and keep bearing westward. For the sea, we drive through passes between desert hills, past one ranchito abandonado after another—crumbling adobe ruins in the scant shade of a dead cottonwood, dry well, broken-down windmill, hollow-log water trough full of sand and tumbleweed—until a change transforms the horizon, until the skyline beyond the bony peaks and ridges becomes a curving plane of blue melting in mist with giant cardon cactus—bigger than saguaros—down to the beach.
Working for logical immigation reform based on a stable population, a recognition of the finite nature of our natural resources and the adverse impact of continued growth on our quality of life, standard of living, national interest, character, language, sovereignty and the rule of law. Pushing back and countering the disloyal elements in American society and the anti-American rhetoric of the leftwing illegal alien lobbies. In a debate, when your opponents turn to name calling, it's a good sign you've already won.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Down There in Sonora -- by Edward Abbey
Is this the culture we want to import into the U.S.?